Merredin Kyle Hughes-Odgers
Read their Stories
I was born in Merredin. I left school at age 14 and went to work at CBH. My family was originally from Perth and came up this way. There’s five brother and five sisters in my family. Two died at birth so it would have been 12 but we ended up with 10 of us. Being a big family, there was a struggle on with looking after mum and that so a friend who was in charge at CBH got me a job there. They said “You can start down there Monday Spike,” and I didn’t know what the hell was down there so I rock up down there as a 14 year old and they give me a job as a cleaner for a while, I was only a little tacker, and when the big bosses came up from Perth, because my age was put up to 17- but I was actually only 14, I’d have to have the day off. I’ve been in Merredin all my life. I’ll probably die here, I’m happy living in the country.
My names is Geraldine Watson but I prefer to be called Gerry. It sounds a bit friendlier. I’ve been in Katanning for the last 53 years. It’s my home but I came from Perth, teaching. I was appointed Deputy Principal of the Primary School. In those days you didn’t get a choice, you went where you were sent. I was about 25 when I came here. It was fairly daunting because it was the first time I was in position as a deputy and the school was quite a big school. There were about 800 students at that stage. It was the only government Primary School here. There was a young staff and we all got on very well and made good friendships that have lasted many years. My husband worked in retail menswear. I met him soon after arriving in Katanning.
My name is Ziagul Sultani. I’m known as Zee. I live in Katanning but I am originally from Afghanistan. We came because of the war. Afghanistan is not a place for girls to grow up and be free. It gives me goosebumps to think about what life would have been like if I wasn’t here. For my father to bring us here, honestly, it’s a gift that I can’t pay back. Not everyone has the opportunity to do that for their children.
I like knowing that I produce things that go and feed the world. It’s pretty rewarding. But it’s pretty tough too because you’re working with old girl up there, mother nature. If she doesn’t look after you, that’s pretty tough. but it makes you more resilient. as long as you’re talking with your mates you keep going I suppose.